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A chunk of ice half the size of Jamaica which is breaking away from West Antarctica is now attached to its parent ice shelf just by a thread, scientists reported Friday.

.Covering 5,000 square kilometres (1,900 square miles) and nearly 100 storeys deep, the formation is poised to snap off from Larsen C ice shelf, creating “one of the largest icebergs ever recorded,” the researchers said in a statement.

A widening rift running the length of the finger-shaped, 350-metre (1150-feet) -thick ice block grew 10 kilometres (six miles) longer some time during the last three weeks, satellite images revealed.

“The rift is likely to break off in the next few months—if it doesn’t, I’ll be amazed,” said Adrian Luckman, a professor at Swansea University in Wales, and leader of Britain’s Project Midas, which tracks changes in West Antarctic ice formations.

“It’s so close to calving that I think it’s inevitable,” he told AFP.

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AntarcticaCredit: Newcastle University

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https://phys.org/news/2017-01-massive-antarctic-ice-shelf-ready.html

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